Few things are more exciting than traveling internationally. When going abroad, you get to experience all the beautiful cultures that make up our world. Many people are wary of international travel, however, fearing that it is dangerous. For the most part, traveling throughout the world is very safe. This being said, there are safety precautions that every traveler should take to ensure that their trip remains a joyous one. We spoke to frequent travelers to outline the eight basic rules to staying safe while traveling.
Rule #1: Make electronic copies of your documents
You will be carrying necessary documentation with you when traveling abroad. Create an electronic backup of your immunization record, itinerary, medical insurance card, passport, plane tickets,
travel insurance, and visas before you leave. Email the file to yourself and keep it in your inbox so you can access the information from your smartphone should the paperwork be lost or damaged.
Rule #2: Don’t carry everything together
It might be tempting to keep your cash, credit cards, identification, and traveler’s checks in your wallet, but don’t do it. Keep any money, credit cards, IDs, and checks you won’t be using locked in your hotel room safe. Separate the monetary and identifying items you must carry on you and carry them in different spots on your person. This safety tip prevents you from losing everything should somebody steal your wallet.
Rule #3: Keep the address to your accommodation.
Write down the address, in both English and the native tongue, both in your phone’s notes (or snap a photo) and in a little notebook (phone batteries die). You can also grab an extra business card from the front desk of the hotel you are staying at. The information on a business card will come in handy if you are ever lost or need to contact someone. If you are in a place where you don’t speak the local language, you can at least ensure that you have your hotel’s address and phone number.
Rule #4: Try to be around people.
Walk slightly behind a couple if you are alone. We know this might sound a little creepy, but you don’t want to stand out. If you are a girl, the couple you could be following will usually get the vibe. Stay on the same side of the street as them and keep a safe distance while making sure you can easily call for help if needed. And if you think you are being followed, stop to ask security or a public place for help. You can walk into a hotel that’s not yours to ask for help as well. Whatever you do, don’t walk to where you’re staying.
Rule #5: Get a sturdy bag.
Don’t carry something with a thin strap that can easily be broken, or a clutch that can be grabbed, or a wallet in a front or back pocket. Travelers have narrated instances of catching people’s hands in their pockets. It is equally easy to unzip the back pockets of a backpack and have things taken from it. The best thing to do would be to wear your backpack facing front or get a cross body bag that you can easily hold onto even after slinging it across. But don’t clutch it to yourself too much either. It sends out a signal that you have too many valuables in your bag. These are signs thieves and criminals usually watch out for.
Rule #6: Don’t bring attention to yourself.
You might be somewhere where the culture calls for a conservative attire, so you may feel more comfortable covering up or wearing a coat until you get to the venue. Also, leave the “bling” at home. It might be tempting to wear your favorite jewelry throughout your trip or take pictures with that new, costly camera, but in the interest of your safety, don’t. If you tour your international destination dressed to the nines and wearing all sorts of expensive jewelry, you are announcing to potential thieves that you are a worthy mugging target. Keep it simple and appropriate for the place you are visiting, and hide your camera in a case when you aren’t using it.
Rule #7: Just don’t get too drunk.
It seems obvious, but when you’re in a foreign country you’re a target for all types of crimes just by being a tourist, and being drunk just doubles that risk. Make sure you stick to a limit and are aware of your surroundings. If possible, try to drink at the hotel you are staying and don’t venture out too far from it if you do have to go out. And just don’t leave your drink unattended anywhere. Also remember that when it gets dark it also gets dangerous in many places. So of you want to enjoy a night out it’s always a good idea to go out as a group and take care of one another. But if that’s not an option, make it a point to never get in a state where you start losing control of yourself.
Rule #8: Trust your gut.
Your gut tells you things. So listen to it, especially while traveling. If you are feeling a little uneasy about that peephole in your hotel room, then simply put a bandage on it. Peepholes have become an easy way for people to get a glimpse inside your hotel room and find out if it’s currently occupied or not. If you don’t want to sign up for a trip but your agent is trying to convince you to say yes, don’t hesitate to politely decline. There are various types of scams all over the world therefore, while you should inform yourself which scams are popular at your destination to notice it before you get duped or robbed, it’s imperative you listen to that voice at the back of your head too. There is nothing wrong about trusting your instincts when booking a tour, a bus ride or making a decision for the next travel destination. If something feels wrong, maybe it is wrong. When in doubt, trust your instincts.